by Lauryn Bray
When I was 18, my grandfather told me that in 1936, the U.S. government cut a check to my great-grandmother for $2,000 and took her land in Oklahoma. She had inherited a farmhouse that sat on several acres. This property had been in my family for decades, and from what I understand, it did not go willingly. $2,000 in 1936 — when my great-grandmother would have had custody of this property — is worth about $42,879 now. Needless to say, she was ripped off.
Continue reading OPINION | How My Black and Indigenous Ancestry Guides My Perception of Generational Wealth
by Sadé A. Smith
Inequitable bail laws allow bail companies to extort the poor for the little wealth they have. By working as a proxy for the courts’ cash bail system, bail companies are allowed to engage in extreme wealth transfers in exchange for your freedom. In reality, the U.S. legal system has normalized ransoms. Here’s how it works: If you are charged with a crime but not convicted, the court has the option to set bail. If you can’t afford to post bail, you are stuck in jail pretrial, despite being presumed innocent until proven guilty. You are caged until your case resolves. This process can take years. The courts make their determination based on the statements of police and charges determined by prosecutors. You have no way to refute these frequently baseless allegations. The court presumes the police are telling the truth, despite mountains of evidence that police lie in reports regularly. To obtain your freedom, you must pay the full amount to the court or pay 10% to 15% of the bond ordered by the court to a bail company. The bail company pays the full amount and will be reimbursed once the case resolves. In short, you exchange your limited resources for your freedom. The bail company keeps the 10% to 15% you paid no matter what, even if they are fully reimbursed by the court. They also secure collateral for the full amount. If you fail to appear in court (at times for any reason), and the court forfeits your bond, the bond company keeps your 10% to 15% and can collect on the collateral you signed over in exchange for your freedom. In any other circumstance, a contract leveraging your freedom in exchange for money would be null and void, but the criminal legal system allows it. Already economically depressed families have lost homes, vehicles, and other property as a result. In a disparate system that we know is racist, the central question should be, what about having money makes you safer for the community?
Continue reading OPINION | Bail, Ransom, Wealth Transfer, and Real Community Safety
by Mark Epstein and Michael Dixon
Almost 60 years ago, in the middle of two decades of civil rights activism that changed our country, James Baldwin delivered a speech to teachers, in which he declared that the purpose of education is for students to look critically at their society and to have a vision of change they are willing to fight for. Without such a perspective, he says, we will perish, or follow the worst example of a Nazi youth movement.
Continue reading OPINION | We Must Listen to the Students
by Cedar Bushue
I have my own tragic experience which attests to the devastation a city can go through if there are not large amounts of tree canopies. When I was in AmeriCorps NCCC during the spring of 2013, I was sent to help with Hurricane Sandy disaster relief. I saw vast amounts of urban sprawl and a complete lack of meaningful tree canopy, both downtown and along the residential neighborhoods by the coast I helped. Since that experience, I have since become increasingly more interested in the benefits trees provide and have recently been helping out a tree doctor.
Continue reading OPINION | Why Caring for Trees Is So Important in Urban Environments
by Megan Burbank
As the “red wave” telegraphed by pundits failed to materialize in this year’s midterm elections, I heard one refrain again and again: Abortion mattered after all.
Continue reading OPINION | Of Course Roe Played a Role in the Midterms: Most Americans Support Abortion Access
by Michael T. McPhearson
If you Google “How many years has the U.S. been at war?” I’m sure the answer will shock you. I’ll let you do it for yourself. Some will not believe the source; others will accept it at face value. But as a combat veteran who joined the U.S. Army at 17 and grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, near Fort Bragg, I have watched the U.S. wage war for over half a century.
Continue reading OPINION | Honor My Service by Being Honest About U.S. Addiction to War
‘Partial Birth Abortion’ Is a Right-Wing Invention
by Megan Burbank
With abortion rights top of mind for Washington voters as we count down to the Nov. 8 general election, some Republican party candidates are using campaign literature to reinforce longstanding myths about abortion. Earlier in October, the State Republican Party distributed mailers claiming Democratic candidates support “partial birth abortion,” abortion “until the due date,” and “no safeguards.”
Continue reading OPINION | WA GOP Mailers Are Spreading Misinformation About Abortion
by Jude Ahmed
This November, after organizers and the City Council alike have made it possible, Seattle voters could elect to make huge changes in our voting system.
Continue reading OPINION | Instead of Choosing the Lesser of Two Evils, We Need to Change Our Election System
by Gennette Cordova
At the height of the 2020 racial justice demonstrations following the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other victims of police violence, Seattle and its short-lived Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) was put under a microscope. A self-proclaimed leader of CHOP, local rapper Raz Simone quickly gained visibility as national media outlets made him a figurehead of the movement despite vocal opposition mainly from women. As more specifics emerge about both his sex trafficking and his involvement with Seattle police, the argument becomes stronger to support what many of us already knew: Raz’s rise to prominence was part of a larger strategic effort to discredit racial justice protests in 2020.
Continue reading OPINION | How the City of Seattle Used Raz Simone to Undermine 2020 Protests
by Charlotte Jarvis
I’m back working on the domestic violence (DV) hotlines after a couple of years, and let me tell you what’s different this time. A lot.
Continue reading OPINION | Monday Morning at 9 a.m.: My Experience Working at the Domestic Violence Hotline